INTRODUCTION TO JOINT OPERATING AGREEMENTS

INTRODUCTION TO JOINT OPERATING AGREEMENTS

The joint operating agreement (“JOA”) is the most commonly used instrument in the oil and gas industry, surpassed only by the oil and gas lease. [1]   A JOA provides the contractual basis for the cooperative exploration, development, and production of oil and gas properties among multiple leasehold cotenants. [2]  By and large, the most commonly used JOA form is the “Form 610,” curated and published by the American Association of Professional Landmen (“AAPL”). [3]  Several other JOA forms have been adopted by the oil and gas industry, typically designed for use in specific circumstances, including (1) the Model Form of Offshore Operating Agreement AAPL Model Form 710-2002, and Model Form of Offshore Deepwater Operating Agreement AAPL-810 (2007), both designed for offshore oil and gas operations, (2) the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Rocky Mountain Unit Operating Agreement Form 2 – Divided Interest, designed for use in Federal Exploratory Units, and The American Petroleum Institute Forms, which are generally used for enhanced recovery operations as to fieldwide units. However, the AAPL Model Form 610 remains the most common JOA form for domestic onshore oil and gas production.

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